Food allergies in cats are very common, and take a lot of different forms. Let's explore some of the most common issues.
From diarrhoea to vomiting to scratching, the telltale signs of allergies in cats can differ. But when you notice them, it's important to take your cat to the vet to have them assessed. Not only can they be highly unpleasant for your cat, they can also pose health concerns to them.
Allergies in cats
Sudden diarrhoea or persistent diarrhoea are the two of the most common and obvious signs of a food allergy. About 1/3 of cats suffering from chronic diarrhoea get better within 48 hours when they start a hypoallergenic diet.
The other obvious sign of a food allergy is skin damage. The hypoallergenic diet will help to eliminate the problem, but it can take much longer, sometimes several months. A trial and error approach may also need to be taken.
Various foods, such as milk, can also be problematic for cats. Grain or cereal-free products can also be prescribed to assist with common food allergies.
The process of allergens
Food allergies mostly affect adult and elderly cats. Siamese cats are particularly prone to food allergies due to their genetic make-up.
After a cat ingests an allergenic food, it can take from a few minutes to several weeks for the allergic response to activate. Depending on the type of allergen present, your cat's intestine will also react, triggering the range of symptoms related to the food.
If your cat suffers from an allergy, or numerous allergies, your vet will be able to prescribe them a special hypoallergenic diet with hydrolised proteins. If necessary, topical or oral treatments may also be prescribed. Ask your vet for their advice.
If the new diet doesn't help the problem, your cat might be allergic to something other than food. This could be in the form of fleas, smoke, grass, or acarids, among many others. Finding the allergen will be the primary objective for you and your vet.
If your cat is continually scratching their head, neck, stomach or any other area of their body, you may notice signs of hair loss and/or inflamed, red skin. Again, it's important to consult your vet as this can be traumatic and painful for your cat.
Does your cat suffer from allergies?